Start your engines!
Just in time for the brand’s 50th anniversary, Mattel’s Hot Wheels Augmoto Augmented Reality Racing Track Set combines the classic fun of racing die-cast cars with new augmented reality (AR) technology.
The Augmoto track, made for ages 8 and up, comes with two special, rechargeable cars that can race through the track. The track is a relatively simple loop, but don’t let that fool you—the races aren’t boring.
To play, and even to get full assembly instructions for the track, players first must download the Hot Wheels Augmoto app onto a smart phone or tablet. The app is not only important during play, but also contains lots of how-to videos.
Once the track is assembled (be sure you have plenty of floor space—it is 6 feet long), players plug in the track to allow the track’s “charging stations,” which refuel the cars throughout the race, to work.
Be sure to follow the app’s instructions carefully on how to insert the cars into the charging stations. If you don’t get right, the cars won’t charge and the race won’t be able to start. Before the race, the device or devices must also connect to the track via Bluetooth.
When players are ready to race, they choose a race duration and whether the race will be one player (against the computer, who is a worthy opponent) or two players. For a two-player game, you’ll need a second device with the app installed.
Then, the app uses the phone’s camera to “scan” in the track. Once properly scanned, the player will be able to see the track on their screen, but with additional elements digitally overlaid. This includes a floating Jumbotron, a lap counter, fuel bar, and more.
The digital version of the track on-screen continues to play an important role while players race on the physical track, as it lets kids control when they stop their cars to refuel, when they try to take on the loop in the track, and more.
It’s especially important to keep an eye on the battery bar throughout the race and be sure to stop and refuel at opportune times, pacing the pit stops like a real race car driver would.
Players can also launch attacks on each other using the app. Kids can collect an attack and attempt the track’s upside-down loop, which can only be done at nearly full power. The opposing player can try to block the attack by playing a short mini-game in which they swipe to avoid digital obstacles on the track.
Failing to block an attack results in “damage” to a players car, and damage means a required “pit stop” in the charger, which takes the player out of the race for a set amount of time.
While players need to pay pretty close attention to their screens, they can also watch the race unfold on the real track in front of them. Sometimes they’ll need to interact with the physical cars during the race, too, especially if one falls off the track. When that happens, the app alerts to the car’s derailment and the player must physically return the car to the race.
Play duration ultimately depends on the race length kids choose and how many times they want to race. When packing up Augmoto, be careful that the cars don’t zip away. There’s no way to shut them off, so they’ll spin their wheels until they run out of power.
While the track is a fairly straightforward loop, the strategy and multiple levels of focus needed to succeed at Augmoto make the set a fun challenge for kids.